Now that we live in Toronto, we have all had to adjust to our new life here. I mean, living surrounded by corn fields in an apple orchard with a bear in the back forest is very different from our sugar cube sized home in Toronto.

Don’t get me wrong:

we

all

love

 this

 new

 life.

I miss my friends, sure, but that’s a different post. Mostly I love the fact that I am an actor now. Again. Still?

I wake up in the morning and plan my day around my new web site, memorizing monologues, voice work, networking, auditions and Casting Workbook submissions. My family is still the most important part of my life, but living here and focussing on that turquoise blue ball of creativity that I call talent is almost diametrically opposed to the life I had as a garden designer (spring/summer)  or a  copy writer (fall/winter) in the apple orchard.

Here’s the thing: why, then, when I’m so exhilarating happy as an actor do I hesitate when people ask me “What do you DO?” You know, the capital “D” as in what do I fill my life with as in how do I make money?

What exactly is an actor?

Is an actor only those who make their living as an actor?

By that definition, only Eric Peterson and Wendy Crewson are actors.

I’m not in this for the money or to get attention. I do this because I have tried very hard to ignore my acting ability and spent years doing other things (and made money) and I did those other money making things so my children would have the best clothing and we could go to warm places in the cold Canadian winters.  I ignored the small,still voice that whispered the Truth.  

But it did not work.

I was miserable at the best and depressed at the worst. Not such a good way to raise kids. But there it is. I was sad for a long time.

Now I listen. I am an actor:

put on this planet to be an actor. I have been told that I have a ‘serious gift’. I Do. I now walk as if all of my compass points are lined up even though I have not been seen (yet!!!)  by the casting people who cast the tv shows and feature films and all I do is commercials and produce plays myself…I am an actor.

No class or gig or workshop or person can tell me different.

So, why do I flinch when somebody asks me what I do? I’ll tell you why. It’s NOT that I think I need to look a certain way, as in this story:

When we lived in the country and we were selling our home, the real estate agent who was showing our home to her client came out of my home office.

“Is that a head shot of you in there?”she asked.

“Yep.” I shrunk into my insecurity, damning myself for not having hidden the head shots. And who else would it be?

“Honey, you’re not an actor,” she exclaimed, “I’M an actor…look at these.” And with two hands she proudly raised up her chest to show me her obviously significant cleavage.”You need tits and ass to be a real actor. I’M an actor, I work at the _______  Community Playhouse…I’M an ACTOR.”

Indeed, this real estate agent was an actor because she beleived she is an actor.

It’s NOT that I have a hard time labelling myself as an actor because I could not get cast in that same community theatre nor is it because I do not make my money at it…yet. No, the reason I have a really hard time saying that I’m a professional actor is

 that

 I haven’t proven it to myself yet.

I have to pinch myself every morning so I believe that this wonderful life I’m living is mine. My life as an actor, with every rejection, let down, discouraging audition…it is my life and I am the happiest person on the planet because I left what I do best to raise my kids in the country and I’m not ashamed and no, I was not in jail… I was stirring the oatmeal and paying student loans and if you see me now and wonder what I do, don’t ask me…wait, go ahead but remember I’m busy.

I’m an actor.

I love you,

Dawna

3 responses »

  1. Recently saw Life as a Pomegranate. So excited and happy and inspired by it, you. I think my husband spoke to you after. We are in Brooklyn, ny and want to know when you are around here.
    Here’s my email: sfrances1@hotmail.com. I want my 2 actor sons to see you! Onward and upward!
    Sally Mann

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s